Working with Vulnerable People

Safeguarding Matters – RC Diocese of Argyll & the Isles
‘We are committed to the safety, well-being and dignity of all people, young and vulnerable, within our Diocese.’

The Catholic Military Ordinariate Policy for Working with Children and Vulnerable People

  1. The Catholic Diocese of the Australian Military Services is committed to providing a safe and supportive environment for all people in the ADF, our communities and our society. This is inclusive of those who are vulnerable in any aspect within our society. It is a responsibility and duty to live this principle of safeguarding children and vulnerable adults, not only as Catholics in the spirit of Christ’s teachings, but also as citizens in our communities. As members of the Catholic Military Diocese it is incumbent upon us to adhere to professional standards as set by our nation and the Church, as well as an obligation for uniformed personnel, to perform their duties under Defence policies and regulations.
  2. The policy is intended to provide a framework for a uniform standard of behaviour and compliance (i.e. best practice). Our Diocese will respond to complaints of unprofessional conduct in ways that reflect nationally established standards and protocols and ensure adherence to applicable legislation. We are committed to providing ongoing pastoral support to any person affected by physical, emotional or sexual abuse by church personnel.
  3. The Diocese provides information and support to all Catholic chaplains and paid and volunteer church personnel. We provide training and education, in conjunction with the Australian Defence Force, to develop and maintain the knowledge and skills required to implement safe working environments. In so doing we assist all chaplains with maintaining professional standards, ethical behaviour and ensure they operate within the associated legislation, in the conduct of their duties.
  4. The abuse of vulnerable people, or any person, tears at the fabric of family and community alike and has far reaching consequences. An incident of abuse can undermine years of dedicated service by a church community and faith in our fellow human beings.
Associated Legislation

Children, Youth and Families Act 2005
Working with Children Act 2005
Crimes Act 1958
Education and Training Reform Act 2006
Equal Opportunity Act 2010
Privacy Act 1988 (Commonwealth)

Relevant State/Territory Legislation in the geographical area covered by your postings or place of duty.

National Catholic Safeguarding Standards – ACSL

  1. Safeguarding Children and Adults at Risk.  Search via attached link: National Catholic Safeguarding Standards – Australian Catholic Safeguarding Ltd (
  2. Integrity is our common mission 2023.  Attached: Integrity in our Common Mission – November 2023

Serving Chaplain Responsibilities and Actions with regard to Professional Standards.

  1. There are two adjacent and compatible standards involved for those who serve as Catholic Chaplains. Those of the Church and those of the Australian Defence Force.
  2. Chaplains who have been granted a Ministry by the Military Ordinary, and who remain endorsed by him to serve as Catholic Chaplains in one of the Services of the Australian Defence Force, will at all times display an exemplary level of personal and professional integrity in accordance with the Gospel mandate, teaching and pastoral practice of the Catholic Church.  They are expected to adhere to and operate consistently with Defence values and adhere to the Code of Conduct of their particular service.
Church Requirements
  1. Without exception every Catholic Chaplain must have current Faculties from the Military Diocese.
  2. Every Catholic Chaplain must meet the requirements of the local Church authority in the geographical place of their posting or duty and have current permissions to exercise their ministry granted by the local Church authority.
  3. All Catholic Chaplains must have the necessary working with children and vulnerable persons clearances required by local civilian authorities of the State or Territory in which their posting is located. Details of that registration must be forwarded to the Chancery for recording. Some postings involve more than one civil jurisdiction and in that case the necessary clearances from all jurisdictions involved is.
  4. Every Catholic Chaplain is to ensure and verify that visiting Catholic clergy who may be ministering in their area of responsibility in the Military Ordinariate have completed all the necessary processes that the Church requires with regard to professional standards and working with children and vulnerable persons clearances and are authorised to supply that ministry.
  5. All Catholic Chaplain on full-time duty must participate in and complete the professional standards training and awareness programmes that is provided by the Military Ordinariate and by the geographical Local Ordinary – where offered – each year. A certificate stating that this annual training has been satisfactorily completed, or that no training is offered by the Local Ordinary, must be forwarded to the Military Ordinariate Chancery and will be placed in individual’s personnel record.
  6. Every Catholic Chaplain on part-time duty must forward to the Chancery a certificate that states they have satisfactorily completed each year the professional standards courses set down by their local Diocese or Religious Institute or a certificate that no such training is offered for inclusion in their personal
  7. Catholic Chaplains must fully complete the Personal Details and Contacts Form each year by 31st January. A reminder will be sent by email. The template for the form can be found as Attachment A to this Annex.
  8. If a Catholic Chaplain becomes aware of an allegation concerning professional standards breaches and/or abuse of a child or vulnerable person, it must be reported to both church and civil/military authorities immediately.  Chaplains are to be aware of the contact person or details for reporting allegations of breaches in professional standards and/or abuse in the local Diocese and report any allegation of breaches of Professional Standards and/or abuse to the Military Ordinariate and the local Diocese immediately. The contact person for the Military Ordinariate is the appointed Director of Safeguarding who can be contacted at or by mobile telephone number 0408 558 211. The Chaplain must report the matter to the relevant civil and/or military authority.
  9. Every Catholic Chapel Community must have a pro-forma for a Child Safety Code of Conduct for use by visiting clergy, volunteers and assistants who are to be engaged in any activity associated with the Catholic Chapel community. This pro-forma is to be signed by the visitor before the activity commences and is to be retained by the Catholic Chaplain responsible for the Catholic Chapel community.
Australian Defence Force/ Single Service Requirements
  1. All Catholic Chaplains will observe strictly the policies, standards of behaviour and defined processes regarding professional standards matters established by the relevant Service.
  2. Navy Directive published November 2023 attached: Navy Directive 08 of 2023 – Navy Chaplain and MSWO Code of Conduct


ACSL Learning platform

The ACSL Learning Platform hosts a range of online training modules and learning programs from ACSL and other safeguarding organisations that can help individuals in Catholic organisations to build their safeguarding knowledge and awareness.

Our Learning Platform is also where we will host live learning opportunities with safeguarding experts and thought leaders throughout 2024 –

To find out more about the learning programs, please open the links below:

Read about our 2024 Professional Learning Program

View the 2024 Live Learning Opportunities calendar

View the 2024 Leaders and Leadership Teams Program